Monday, March 9, 2009

Black News: Barack Obama Appeals to Turkey

For one of his first foreign visits, President Barack Obama will call on NATO ally Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim country viewed as critical to aiding the U.S. pullout from Iraq, turning around the Afghanistan war and blocking Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The invasion of Iraq has strained the long friendship between the U.S. and Turkey, a Western-style democracy that straddles Europe and the Middle East and has an Islamic-oriented government. Obama's visit, expected at the end of a European trip in early April, would mark an improvement in ties.

"We share a commitment to democracy, a secular constitution, respect for religious freedom and belief and in free market and a sense of global responsibility," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday in announcing Obama's plans after meeting with Turkish leaders in the capital.

The visit is "a reflection of the value we place on our friendship with Turkey," the chief American diplomat said on the last stop of her week-long trip to five countries. The president asked her to make the announcement, she added.

Turkey had advised against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and refused to permit U.S. ground forces to launch elements of the attack from Turkish soil.


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